5 Christmas ads that sell the spirit of the season

It's barely halfway through November, and North American retailers are still waiting to cross the hurdle of the Thanksgiving holiday. But British retailers are already dropping a slew of seasonal advertisements to prepare for Christmas sales, often tugging at consumers' heartstrings in the process.

1. SAINSBURY'S

On Sunday (Nov 13), British supermarket chain Sainsbury's released its official Christmas commercial, a three-and-a-half-minute stop-motion musical titled The Greatest Gift.

It tells the story of a harried factory worker named Dave who struggles to spend time with his family amid the commercialism of the season.

Sainsbury's announced that it was partnering with Great Ormond Street Hospital, a historic children's hospital in London, for Christmas. The supermarket chain will raise funds by selling £1 (S$1.78) gingerbread cookies of Dave and £5 do-it-yourself stop-motion animation kits, with part of the proceeds to go to the hospital's charity.

2. JOHN LEWIS

British department store John Lewis figured out a key ingredient of viral videos - cute animal antics and small children behaving ridiculously.

Its Christmas special features a little girl who wants a trampoline for Christmas and discovers that her pet dog Buster is also a fan of bouncing up and down.

#BusterTheBoxer became a trending video of YouTube after it was uploaded on Wednesday (Nov 9).

John Lewis is raising funds for the Wildlife Trusts, a group of British nature conservation foundations, and will donate part of the proceeds from tie-in merchandise featuring Buster and other animal companions.

3. WAITROSE

Supermarket chain Waitrose took the phrase "I'll be home for Christmas" a little further than usual this year.

On Saturday (Nov 12), Waitrose released an advertisement about "a courageous robin" and its "epic journey" migrating across Europe to spend Christmas in the wintry British countryside, nibbling on a seasonal pastry from Waitrose.

4. BOOTS UK

British pharmacy chain Boots' Christmas advertisement was light on the self-promotion, save for flashing its logo and slogan at the end of a one-minute video featuring the healthcare workers and emergency response personnel who have to work on Christmas Day.

Its Christmas advertisement, posted on YouTube last Monday (Nov 7), shows 45 women workers receiving a make-over with Boots products and celebrating their new looks with loved ones.

5. ALDI AUSTRALIA

In the United Kingdom, global supermarket chain Aldi - known for its tongue-in-cheek advertising - released a parody of John Lewis' Buster the Boxer with its own character Kevin the Carrot.

But it is in Australia that the chain outdid itself by poking fun at how Christmas is celebrated Down Under - with summer instead of snow.

In the video, an American family arrives in the Australian suburbs intent on enforcing a celebration of Christmas that involves reindeer, skiing and warm fuzzy sweaters.

Their Australian hosts, proud of their sundresses and swimming trunks, quickly convert the Americans over to a Christmas dinner involving beer and shrimp fresh off the barbie.